ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Veterans from the Roscoe VFW have created award-winning poppy displays to remember the lives of military servicemen and women that have been lost.
The poppy flower has been an enduring symbol of remembrance of the end of World War II and Armistice Day.
Scott Lewandowski, museum director at Rockford’s Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 N Main St, says, “The poppy has its significance that goes back to WWI and Flanders Fields. It has since been a symbol of fundraising that the American Legion and the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) uses, where you’ll see them out with the poppies [for sale.]”
The new exhibit is a somber one, Lewandowski says. One features all six military branches, including the newest, the United States Space Force, represented using over 6,150 poppies. The display won first place at the VFW State Convention.
A second display, made of 3,425 white poppies, is for the Gold Star Mothers, and a third is a depiction of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, uses 1,750 poppies.
“First of all, I was like ‘holy cow, they’ve got a lot of poppies on there, don’t they?'” Lewandowski recalls, after first seeing the displays. “I believe one of them has over 3,500 poppies on it.”
“These exhibits are significant because they took the poppies to a whole other level,” he said.
The Roscoe VFW Post 2955 and the Roscoe VFW Auxiliary created the three displays, which will be available for viewing at Veterans Memorial Hall through Veterans Day. Admission is free.
“You see it and you realize there are people that are truly passionate about their service and our country, and letting people know,” Lewandowski said. “It is a way to honor our veterans. This is one exhibit out of many. There’s so many in this building that tell the stories of different veterans and organizations.”